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I commonly see lite version, lite cream, etc. When is it acceptable to replace light with lite?

Is Lite already accepted as correct English or is it just an informal/incorrect spelling? Are there any differences in meaning between the two, or is one just a more informal variant of the other?

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Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for it:

lite, adj.2 and n.6

Comm. Designating a manufactured product that is lighter (in weight, calorie content, etc.) than the ordinary variety, esp. (with capital initial) low-calorie beer. Freq. used postpositively.

1962 L. S. Sasieni Princ. & Pract. Optical Dispensing i. 17 On light-weight spectacles a small joint known as the ‘Lite-Elete’ is sometimes used.

But beyond that definition it wouldn't be interchangeable with light.

For example, the lite streamed in through the window, would be incorrect usage.

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Definitely Informal

Lite is a very incorrect and informal form of 'light', and it is used only in advertisement and branding.
Not sure about this, but it was most probably used by food companies first,
saying that their product had less fat compared to other products.

  • 1
    In the UK at least, it is most commonly only seen in the context of advertising/branding, but it has crept into use in an (informal) idiomatic way when comparing two things---if Foo is some item/company/product and Bar is a very similar item/company/product with fewer features/properties then you could describe Bar as "Foo-Lite". Essentially, adding the suffix -lite implies that it has fewer features/properties. – FakeDIY Mar 7 '13 at 11:17
  • Yes, that is true even in Apps. There is almost always an app with less features. If there is an app 'Booboo' (Totally random), then there will be an app 'Booboo-Lite'. – Siddhartha Mar 7 '13 at 16:30

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